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Step-by-Step: Build a SharePoint 2013 Lab in the Cloud on Windows Azure

Leverage Windows Azure as your Lab in the Cloud!

My good friend and colleague, Tommy Patterson, recently blogged about leveraging the Windows Azure Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) preview offering to build a FREE lab environment in the Cloud.  You can read Tommy’s step-by-step article at:

What about a SharePoint 2013 Lab in the Cloud?
Now that SharePoint Server 2013 has been released, I frequently get asked about ways in which a SharePoint 2013 lab environment can be easily built for studying, testing and/or performing a proof-of-concept.  You could certainly build this lab environment on your own hardware, but due to the level of SharePoint 2013 hardware requirements, a lot of us may not have sufficient spare hardware to implement an on-premise lab environment.

This makes a great scenario for leveraging our Windows Azure FREE 90-day Trial Offer to build a free lab environment for SharePoint 2013 in the cloud.  Using the process outlined in this article, you’ll be able to build a basic functional farm environment for SharePoint 2013 that will be accessible for approximately 105 hours of compute usage each month at no cost to you under the 90-day Trial Offer.

After the 90-day trial period is up, you can choose if you’d like to convert to a full paid subscription.  If you choose to convert to a paid subscription, this lab environment will cost approximately $0.56 USD per hour of compute usage ( that’s right – just 56 cents per hour ) plus associated storage and networking costs ( which can typically be less than $10 USD per month for a lab of this nature ). These estimated costs are based on published Pay-As-You-Go pricing for Windows Azure that is current as of this article’s date.

Note: If you are testing advanced SharePoint 2013 scenarios and need more resources than available in the lab configuration below, you can certainly scale-up or scale-out elastically by provisioning larger VMs or additional SharePoint web and application server VMs.  To determine the specific costs associated with higher resource levels, please visit the Windows Azure Pricing Calculator for Virtual Machines.

SharePoint 2013 Lab Scenario
To deliver a functional and expandable lab environment, I’ll be walking through the approach of provisioning SharePoint Server 2013 on Windows Azure VMs as depicted in the following configuration diagram that will require three (3) VMs on a common Windows Azure Virtual Network.

SP2013onAzureScenario

Lab Scenario: SharePoint 2013 on Windows Azure VM

In this lab, we’ll be using a naming convention of XXXlabYYY01, where XXX will be replaced with your unique initials and YYY will be replaced with an abbreviation representing the function of a virtual machine or Windows Azure configuration component (ie., ad, db or app).

Note: This study lab configuration is suitable for study, functional testing and basic proof-of-concept usage.  This configuration is not currently supported for pilot or production SharePoint 2013 farm environments.

Prerequisites

The following is required to complete this step-by-step guide:

  • A Windows Azure subscription with the Virtual Machines Preview enabled.

    DO IT: Sign up for a FREE Trial of Windows Azure

    NOTE: When activating your FREE Trial for Windows Azure, you will be prompted for credit card information.  This information is used only to validate your identity and your credit card will not be charged, unless you explicitly convert your FREE Trial account to a paid subscription at a later point in time. 
  • Completion of the Getting Started tasks in the following article:

    DO IT: Getting Started with Servers in the Cloud
  • This step-by-step guide assumes that the reader is already familiar with configuring Windows Server Active Directory, SQL Server and SharePoint Server 2013 in an on-premise installation. This guide focuses on the unique aspects associated with configuring these components on the Windows Azure cloud platform.

Let’s Get Started!
In this step-by-step guide, you will learn how to:

  • Register a DNS Server in Windows Azure
  • Define a Virtual Network in Windows Azure
  • Configure Windows Server Active Directory in a Windows Azure VM
  • Configure SQL Server 2012 in a Windows Azure VM
  • Configure SharePoint Server 2013 in a Windows Azure VM
  • Export / Import Lab Environment via PowerShell

Exercise 1: Register a DNS Server in Windows Azure

Register the internal IP address that our domain controller VM will be using for Active Directory-integrated Dynamic DNS services by performing the following steps:

  1. Sign in at the Windows Azure Management Portal with the logon credentials used when you signed up for your Free 90-Day Windows Azure Trial.
  2. Select Networks located on the side navigation panel on the Windows Azure Management Portal page.
  3. Click the +NEW button located on the bottom navigation bar and select Networks | Virtual Network | Register DNS Server.
  4. Complete the DNS Server fields as follows:

    - NAME: XXXlabdns01
    - DNS Server IP Address: 10.0.0.4
  5. Click the REGISTER DNS SERVER button.

Exercise 2: Define a Virtual Network in Windows Azure

Define a common virtual network in Windows Azure for running Active Directory, Database and SharePoint virtual machines by performing the following steps:

  1. Sign in at the Windows Azure Management Portal with the logon credentials used when you signed up for your Free 90-Day Windows Azure Trial.
  2. Select Networks located on the side navigation panel on the Windows Azure Management Portal page.
  3. Click the +NEW button located on the bottom navigation bar and select Networks | Virtual Network | Quick Create.
  4. Complete the Virtual Network fields as follows:

    - NAME: XXXlabnet01
    - Address Space: 10.---.---.---
    - Maximum VM Count: 4096 [CIDR: /20]
    - Affinity Group: Select the Affinity Group defined in the Getting Started steps from the Prerequisites section above.
    - Connect to Existing DNS: Select XXXlabdns01 – the DNS Server registered in Exercise 1 above.
  5. Click the CREATE A VIRTUAL NETWORK button.

Exercise 3: Configure Windows Server Active Directory in a Windows Azure VM

Provision a new Windows Azure VM to run a Windows Server Active Directory domain controller in a new Active Directory forest by performing the following steps:

  1. Sign in at the Windows Azure Management Portal with the logon credentials used when you signed up for your Free 90-Day Windows Azure Trial.
  2. Select Virtual Machines located on the side navigation panel on the Windows Azure Management Portal page.
  3. Click the +NEW button located on the bottom navigation bar and select Compute | Virtual Machines | From Gallery.
  4. In the Virtual Machine Operating System Selection list, select Windows Server 2012, December 2012 and click the Next button.
  5. On the Virtual Machine Configuration page, complete the fields as follows:

    - Virtual Machine Name: XXXlabad01
    - New Password and Confirm Password fields: Choose and confirm a new local Administrator password.
    - Size: Small (1 core, 1.75GB Memory)

    Click the Next button to continue.

    Note: It is suggested to use secure passwords for Administrator users and service accounts, as Windows Azure virtual machines could be accessible from the Internet knowing just their DNS.  You can also read this document on the Microsoft Security website that will help you select a secure password: http://www.microsoft.com/security/online-privacy/passwords-create.aspx.
  6. On the Virtual Machine Mode page, complete the fields as follows:

    - Standalone Virtual Machine: Selected
    - DNS Name: XXXlabad01.cloudapp.net
    - Storage Account: Select the Storage Account defined in the Getting Started steps from the Prerequisites section above.
    - Region/Affinity Group/Virtual Network: Select XXXlabnet01 – the Virtual Network defined in Exercise 2 above.
    - Virtual Network Subnets: Select Subnet-1 (10.0.0.0/23)

    Click the Next button to continue.
  7. On the Virtual Machine Options page, click the Checkmark button to begin provisioning the new virtual machine.

    As the new virtual machine is being provisioned, you will see the Status column on the Virtual Machines page of the Windows Azure Management Portal cycle through several values including Stopped, Stopped (Provisioning), and Running (Provisioning).  When provisioning for this new Virtual Machine is completed, the Status column will display a value of Running and you may continue with the next step in this guide.
  8. After the new virtual machine has finished provisioning, click on the name ( XXXlabad01 ) of the new Virtual Machine displayed on the Virtual Machines page of the Windows Azure Management Portal.
  9. On the virtual machine details page for XXXlabad01, make note of the Internal IP Address displayed on this page.  This IP address should be listed as 10.0.0.4

    If a different internal IP address is displayed, the virtual network and/or virtual machine configuration was not completed correctly.  In this case, click the DELETE button located on the bottom toolbar of the virtual machine details page for XXXlabad01, and go back to Exercise 2 and Exercise 3 to confirm that all steps were completed correctly.
  10. On the virtual machine details page for XXXlabad01, click the Attach button located on the bottom navigation toolbar and select Attach Empty Disk.  Complete the following fields on the Attach an empty disk to the virtual machine form:

    - Name: XXXlabad01-data01
    - Size: 10 GB
    - Host Cache Preference: None

    Click the Checkmark button to create and attach the a new virtual hard disk to virtual machine XXXlabad01.
  11. On the virtual machine details page for XXXlabad01, click the Connect button located on the bottom navigation toolbar and click the Open button to launch a Remote Desktop Connection to the console of this virtual machine.  Logon at the console of your virtual machine with the local Administrator credentials defined in Step 5 above.
  12. From the Remote Desktop console of XXXlabad01, create a new partition on the additional data disk attached above in Step 10 and format this partition as a new F: NTFS volume.  This volume will be used for NTDS DIT database, log and SYSVOL folder locations.

    If you need additional guidance to complete this step, feel free to leverage the following study guide for assistance: Windows Server 2012 “Early Experts” Challenge – Configure Local Storage
  13. Using the Server Manager tool, install Active Directory Domain Services and promote this server to a domain controller in a new forest with the following parameters:

    - Active Directory Forest name: contoso.com
    - Volume Location for NTDS database, log and SYSVOL folders: F:

    If you need additional guidance to complete this step, feel free to leverage the following study guide for assistance: Windows Server 2012 “Early Experts” Challenge – Install and Administer Active Directory
  14. After Active Directory has been installed, create the following user accounts that will be used when installing and configuring SharePoint Server 2013 later in this step-by-step guide:

    - CONTOSO\sp_farm – SharePoint Farm Data Access Account
    - CONTOSO\sp_serviceapps – SharePoint Farm Service Applications Account

    If you need additional guidance to complete this step, feel free to leverage the following study guide for assistance: Windows Server 2012 “Early Experts” Challenge – Install and Administer Active Directory

The configuration for this virtual machine is now complete, and you may continue with the next exercise in this step-by-step guide.

Exercise 4: Configure SQL Server 2012 in a Windows Azure VM

Provision a new Windows Azure VM to run SQL Server 2012 by performing the following steps:

  1. Sign in at the Windows Azure Management Portal with the logon credentials used when you signed up for your Free 90-Day Windows Azure Trial.
  2. Select Virtual Machines located on the side navigation panel on the Windows Azure Management Portal page.
  3. Click the +NEW button located on the bottom navigation bar and select Compute | Virtual Machines | From Gallery.
  4. In the Virtual Machine Operating System Selection list, select SQL Server 2012 Evaluation Edition and click the Next button.
  5. On the Virtual Machine Configuration page, complete the fields as follows:

    - Virtual Machine Name: XXXlabdb01
    - New Password and Confirm Password fields: Choose and confirm a new local Administrator password.
    - Size: Medium (2 cores, 3.5GB Memory)

    Click the Next button to continue.
  6. On the Virtual Machine Mode page, complete the fields as follows:

    - Standalone Virtual Machine: Selected
    - DNS Name: XXXlabdb01.cloudapp.net
    - Storage Account: Select the Storage Account defined in the Getting Started steps from the Prerequisites section above.
    - Region/Affinity Group/Virtual Network: Select XXXlabnet01 – the Virtual Network defined in Exercise 2 above.
    - Virtual Network Subnets: Select Subnet-1 (10.0.0.0/23)

    Click the Next button to continue.
  7. On the Virtual Machine Options page, click the Checkmark button to begin provisioning the new virtual machine.

    As the new virtual machine is being provisioned, you will see the Status column on the Virtual Machines page of the Windows Azure Management Portal cycle through several values including Stopped, Stopped (Provisioning), and Running (Provisioning).  When provisioning for this new Virtual Machine is completed, the Status column will display a value of Running and you may continue with the next step in this guide.
  8. After the new virtual machine has finished provisioning, click on the name ( XXXlabdb01 ) of the new Virtual Machine displayed on the Virtual Machines page of the Windows Azure Management Portal.
  9. On the virtual machine details page for XXXlabdb01, make note of the Internal IP Address displayed on this page.  This IP address should be listed as 10.0.0.5

    If a different internal IP address is displayed, the virtual network and/or virtual machine configuration was not completed correctly.  In this case, click the DELETE button located on the bottom toolbar of the virtual machine details page for XXXlabdb01, and go back to Exercise 2 and Exercise 3 to confirm that all steps were completed correctly.
  10. On the virtual machine details page for XXXlabdb01, click the Attach button located on the bottom navigation toolbar and select Attach Empty Disk.  Complete the following fields on the Attach an empty disk to the virtual machine form:

    - Name: XXXlabdb01-data01
    - Size: 50 GB
    - Host Cache Preference: None

    Click the Checkmark button to create and attach the a new virtual hard disk to virtual machine XXXlabdb01.
  11. On the virtual machine details page for XXXlabdb01, click the Connect button located on the bottom navigation toolbar and click the Open button to launch a Remote Desktop Connection to the console of this virtual machine.  Logon at the console of your virtual machine with the local Administrator credentials defined in Step 5 above.
  12. From the Remote Desktop console of XXXlabdb01, create a new partition on the additional data disk attached above in Step 10 and format this partition as a new F: NTFS volume.
  13. Open SQL Server Management Studio from Start | All Programs | Microsoft SQL Server 2012 | SQL Server Management Studio and update default folder locations to the F: volume.

    1. Connect to the SQL Server 2012 default instance using your Windows Account.
    2. Now, you will update the database's default locations for DATA, LOGS and BACKUP folders. To do this, right click on your SQL Server instance and select Properties.
    3. Select Database Settings from the left side pane.
    4. Locate the Database default locations section and update the default values for each path to point to the F: volume you previously formatted.
    5. Close SQL Server Management Studio.
  14. In order to allow SharePoint to connect to the SQL Server, you will need to add an Inbound Rule for the SQL Server requests in the Windows Firewall. To do this, open Windows Firewall with Advanced Security from Start | All Programs | Administrative Tools.

    1. Select Inbound Rules node, right-click it and select New Rule to open the New Inbound Rule Wizard.

    2. In the Rule Type page, select Port and click Next.

    3. In Protocols and Ports page, leave TCP selected, select Specific local ports, and set its value to 1433. Click Next to continue.

    4. In the Action page, make sure that Allow the connection is selected and click Next.

    5. In the Profile page, leave the default values and click Next.

    6. In the Name page, set the Inbound Rule's Name to SQLServerRule and click Finish

    7. Close Windows Firewall with Advanced Security window.

  15. Using the Server Manager tool, join this server to the contoso.com domain and restart the server to complete the domain join operation.
  16. After the server restarts, connect again via Remote Desktop to the server’s console and login with the local Administrator credentials defined above in Step 5.

  17. Open SQL Server Management Studio from Start | All Programs | Microsoft SQL Server 2012 | SQL Server Management Studio and add the CONTOSO\Administrator user to SQL Server with the Sysadmin server role selected.

    1. Expand Security folder within the SQL Server instance. Right-click Logins folder and select New Login.

    2. In the General section, set the Login name to CONTOSO\Administrator, and select the Windows Authentication option.

    3. Click Server Roles on the left pane.  Select the checkbox for the Sysadmin server role.

    4. Click the OK button and close SQL Server Management Studio.

The configuration for this virtual machine is now complete, and you may continue with the next exercise in this step-by-step guide.

Exercise 5: Configure SharePoint Server 2013 in a Windows Azure VM

Provision a new Windows Azure VM to run SharePoint Server 2013 by performing the following steps:

  1. Sign in at the Windows Azure Management Portal with the logon credentials used when you signed up for your Free 90-Day Windows Azure Trial.
  2. Select Virtual Machines located on the side navigation panel on the Windows Azure Management Portal page.
  3. Click the +NEW button located on the bottom navigation bar and select Compute | Virtual Machines | From Gallery.
  4. In the Virtual Machine Operating System Selection list, select Windows Server 2012, December 2012 and click the Next button.
  5. On the Virtual Machine Configuration page, complete the fields as follows:

    - Virtual Machine Name: XXXlabapp01
    - New Password and Confirm Password fields: Choose and confirm a new local Administrator password.
    - Size: Large (4 cores, 7GB Memory)

    Click the Next button to continue.
  6. On the Virtual Machine Mode page, complete the fields as follows:

    - Standalone Virtual Machine: Selected
    - DNS Name: XXXlabapp01.cloudapp.net
    - Storage Account: Select the Storage Account defined in the Getting Started steps from the Prerequisites section above.
    - Region/Affinity Group/Virtual Network: Select XXXlabnet01 – the Virtual Network defined in Exercise 2 above.
    - Virtual Network Subnets: Select Subnet-1 (10.0.0.0/23)

    Click the Next button to continue.
  7. On the Virtual Machine Options page, click the Checkmark button to begin provisioning the new virtual machine.

    As the new virtual machine is being provisioned, you will see the Status column on the Virtual Machines page of the Windows Azure Management Portal cycle through several values including Stopped, Stopped (Provisioning), and Running (Provisioning).  When provisioning for this new Virtual Machine is completed, the Status column will display a value of Running and you may continue with the next step in this guide.
  8. After the new virtual machine has finished provisioning, click on the name ( XXXlabapp01 ) of the new Virtual Machine displayed on the Virtual Machines page of the Windows Azure Management Portal.
  9. On the virtual machine details page for XXXlabapp01, make note of the Internal IP Address displayed on this page.  This IP address should be listed as 10.0.0.6

    If a different internal IP address is displayed, the virtual network and/or virtual machine configuration was not completed correctly.  In this case, click the DELETE button located on the bottom toolbar of the virtual machine details page for XXXlabapp01, and go back to Exercise 2,  Exercise 3 and Exercise 4 to confirm that all steps were completed correctly.
  10. On the virtual machine details page for XXXlabapp01, click the Attach button located on the bottom navigation toolbar and select Attach Empty Disk.  Complete the following fields on the Attach an empty disk to the virtual machine form:

    - Name: XXXlabapp01-data01
    - Size: 50 GB
    - Host Cache Preference: None

    Click the Checkmark button to create and attach the a new virtual hard disk to virtual machine XXXlabapp01.
  11. On the virtual machine details page for XXXlabapp01, click the Connect button located on the bottom navigation toolbar and click the Open button to launch a Remote Desktop Connection to the console of this virtual machine.  Logon at the console of your virtual machine with the local Administrator credentials defined in Step 5 above.
  12. From the Remote Desktop console of XXXlabapp01, create a new partition on the additional data disk attached above in Step 10 and format this partition as a new F: NTFS volume.  
  13. In the Server Manager tool, click on Local Server in the left navigation pane and click on the Workgroup option.  Join this server to the contoso.com domain and restart the server to complete the domain join operation.
  14. After the server restarts, re-establish a Remote Desktop connection to the server and logon with the CONTOSO\Administrator domain user credentials defined earlier in Exercise 3.
  15. In the Server Manager tool, click on Local Server in the left navigation pane and select IE Enhanced Security Configuration. Turn off enhanced security for Administrators and click the OK button.

    Note: Modifying Internet Explorer Enhanced Security configurations is not good practice and is only for the purpose of this particular step-by-step guide. The correct approach should be to download files locally and then copy them to a shared folder or directly to the VM.

  16. Press the Windows key to switch to the Start Screen and launch Internet Explorer.  Download the following files to the F:\INSTALL folder:

    - SharePoint Server 2013 Evaluation Edition

    Make a note of the SharePoint Product Key listed on this page, as you’ll need it for the installation of SharePoint Server 2013.

    - ASP.NET 4.5 hotfix for Windows Server 2012 ( KB2765317 )

  17. Navigate to the F:\INSTALL folder and double-click on the downloaded .IMG file to mount it.  Copy all files and folders from the mounted .IMG file to F:\INSTALL.
  18. Install the SharePoint Server 2013 software prerequisites by running F:\INSTALL\prerequisiteinstaller.exe.  Note that this process may require multiple server restarts to complete.  After all required software is successfully installed, continue with the next step in this step-by-step guide.
  19. Install the ASP.NET 4.5 hotfix downloaded to the F:\INSTALL folder in Step 14 above.
  20. Run F:\INSTALL\setup.exe to launch the SharePoint Server 2013 installation process.
  21. When prompted, on the Server Type tab of the setup program, select the Complete installation option.
  22. On the File Location tab of the setup program, change the data path to use the F: volume formatted in Step 12 above.
  23. At the end of the installation process, ensure the checkbox is selected to Run the SharePoint Products Configuration Wizard Now and click the Close button.
  24. In the SharePoint Products Configuration Wizard, when prompted on the Connect to server farm dialog, select the option to Create a new server farm.
  25. On the Specify Configuration Database Settings, specify the following values for each field:

    - Database Server: XXXlabdb01
    - Username: CONTOSO\sp_farm
    - Password: Type the password specified when the sp_farm domain user account was created earlier in Exercise 3, Step 14.
  26. Click the Next > button and accept all other default values in the SharePoint Products Configuration Wizard.  Click the Finish button when prompted to complete the wizard.
  27. The SharePoint 2013 Central Administration web page should launch automatically.  When prompted, click the Start the Wizard button to begin the Initial Farm Configuration Wizard.
  28. When prompted for Service Account, type the CONTOSO\sp_serviceapps domain username and password specified when this account was created earlier in Exercise 3, Step 14.
  29. Accept all other default values and click the Next > button to continue.
  30. On the Create a Site Collection page, create a new top-level Intranet site collection using the following field values:

    - Title and Description: Enter your preferred Title and Description for the new site collection
    - URL: Select the root URL path – http://XXXlabapp01/
    - Select experience version:
    2013
    - Select a template: Publishing | Publishing Portal

    Click the OK button to provision a new top-level Intranet site collection. 

    After the new top-level Intranet site collection is provisioned, test navigating to the URL for this site collection from within the Remote Desktop session to the server.
  31. On the SharePoint 2013 Central Administration site, configure a Public URL alternate access mapping for accessing the new top-level Intranet site collection from the Internet.
    1. On the Central Administration site home page, click the Configure alternate access mappings link.
    2. On the Alternate Access Mappings page, click the Edit Public URLs link.
    3. On the Edit Public Zone URLs page, select and specify the following values:

      - Alternate Access Mapping Collection: SharePoint - 80
      - Internet: http://XXXlabapp01.cloudapp.net

      Click the Save button to complete the Alternate Access Mapping configuration.
  32. Close the Remote Desktop session to the server.
  33. Sign in at the Windows Azure Management Portal with the logon credentials used when you signed up for your Free 90-Day Windows Azure Trial.
  34. Select Virtual Machines located on the side navigation panel on the Windows Azure Management Portal page.
  35. On the Virtual Machines page, click on the name of the SharePoint virtual machine – XXXlabapp01.
  36. On the XXXlabapp01 virtual machine details page, click on Endpoints in the top navigation area of the page.
  37. Click the +Add Endpoint button in the bottom navigation bar of the page to define a new virtual machine endpoint that will permit HTTP web traffic inbound to the SharePoint virtual machine. 
  38. On the Add an endpoint to a virtual machine form, select the Add Endpoint option and click the Next button to continue.
  39. On the Specify the details of the endpoint form, specify the following field values:

    - Name: Web HTTP
    - Protocol: TCP
    - Public Port: 80
    - Private Port: 80

    Click the Checkmark button to create a new endpoint definition that will permit inbound web traffic to the SharePoint virtual machine.
  40. After the endpoint configuration has been successfully applied, test browsing to the following public URL to confirm that you are able to access the Intranet site collection that is configured on SharePoint:

    - URL: http://XXXlabapp01.cloudapp.net

The configuration for this virtual machine is now complete, and you may continue with the next exercise in this step-by-step guide.

Exercise 6: Export / Import Lab Environment via PowerShell

Our functional SharePoint lab environment is now complete, but if you’re like me, you won’t be using this lab environment 24x7 around-the-clock.  As long as the virtual machines are provisioned, they will continue to accumulate compute hours against your Free 90-Day Windows Azure Trial account regardless of virtual machine state – even in a shutdown state!

To preserve as many of your free compute hours for productive lab work, we can leverage the Windows Azure PowerShell module to de-provision our lab virtual machines when not in use and re-provision our lab virtual machines when we need them again.  Once you’ve configured the PowerShell scripts below, you’ll be able to spin up your SharePoint lab environment when needed in as little as 5-10 minutes!

Note: Prior to beginning this exercise, please ensure that you’ve downloaded, installed and configured the Windows Azure PowerShell module as outlined in the Getting Started article listed in the Prerequisite section of this step-by-step guide.

  1. De-provisioning your lab. Use the PowerShell snippet below to shutdown, export and de-provision your SharePoint lab environment when you’re not using it.  Prior to running this script, be sure to edit the first line to reflect the names of each of your VMs and confirm that the $ExportPath location exists.

    $myVMs = @("XXXlabapp01","XXXlabdb01","XXXlabad01")
    Foreach ( $myVM in $myVMs ) {
    Stop-AzureVM -ServiceName $myVM -Name $myVM
    $ExportPath = "C:\ExportVMs\ExportAzureVM-$myVM.xml"
    Export-AzureVM -ServiceName $myVM -name $myVM -Path $ExportPath
    Remove-AzureVM -ServiceName $myVM -name $myVM
    }

  2. Re-provisioning your lab. Use the PowerShell snippet below to import and re-provision your SharePoint lab environment when you’re ready to use it again.  Prior to running this script, be sure to edit the first two lines to reflect the names of your Virtual Network and VMs.

    $myVNet = "XXXlabnet01"
    $myVMs = @("XXXlabad01","XXXlabdb01","XXXlabapp01")
    Foreach ( $myVM in $myVMs ) {
    $ExportPath = "C:\ExportVMs\ExportAzureVM-$myVM.xml"    
    Import-AzureVM -Path $ExportPath | New-AzureVM -ServiceName $myVM -VNetName $myVNet
    Start-AzureVM -ServiceName $myVM -name $myVM
    }

To ensure safe de-provisioning and re-provisioning of your SharePoint lab environment, note that it is important to preserve the specific order of the VM names listed in both code snippets above to ensure that the dependency order across VMs is properly handled.

What’s Next? Keep Learning!

Now that your SharePoint Server 2013 lab environment is running in the cloud, be sure to explore the resources below to continue your learning:

Build Your Lab! Build Your Lab! Download Windows Server 2012
Build Your Lab in the Cloud! Don’t Have a Lab? Build Your Lab in the Cloud with Windows Azure Virtual Machines
Join our "Early Experts" study group! Want to Get Certified? Join our Windows Server 2012 "Early Experts" Study Group

More Stories By Keith Mayer

Keith Mayer is a Technical Evangelist at Microsoft focused on Windows Infrastructure, Data Center Virtualization, Systems Management and Private Cloud. Keith has over 17 years of experience as a technical leader of complex IT projects, in diverse roles, such as Network Engineer, IT Manager, Technical Instructor and Consultant. He has consulted and trained thousands of IT professionals worldwide on the design and implementation of enterprise technology solutions.

Keith is currently certified on several Microsoft technologies, including System Center, Hyper-V, Windows, Windows Server, SharePoint and Exchange. He also holds other industry certifications from IBM, Cisco, Citrix, HP, CheckPoint, CompTIA and Interwoven.

Keith is the author of the IT Pros ROCK! Blog on Microsoft TechNet, voted as one of the Top 50 "Must Read" IT Blogs.

Keith also manages the Windows Server 2012 "Early Experts" Challenge - a FREE online study group for IT Pros interested in studying and preparing for certification on Windows Server 2012. Join us and become the next "Early Expert"!

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APIs came about to help companies create and manage their digital ecosystem, enabling them not only to reach more customers through more devices, but also create a large supporting ecosystem of developers and partners. While Facebook, Twitter and Netflix were the early adopters of APIs, large enterprises have been quick to embrace the concept of APIs and have been leveraging APIs as a connective tissue that powers all interactions between their customers, partners and employees. As enterprises embrace APIs, some very specific Enterprise API Adoption patterns and best practices have started emerging. In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, Sachin Agarwal, VP of Product Marketing and Strategy at SOA Software, will talk about the most common enterprise API patterns and will discuss how enterprises can successfully launch an API program.
MapDB is an Apache-licensed open source database specifically designed for Java developers. The library uses the standard Java Collections API, making it totally natural for Java developers to use and adopt, while scaling database size from GBs to TBs. MapDB is very fast and supports an agile approach to data, allowing developers to construct flexible schemas to exactly match application needs and tune performance, durability and caching for specific requirements.
The social media expansion has shown just how people are eager to share their experiences with the rest of the world. Cloud technology is the perfect platform to satisfy this need given its great flexibility and readiness. At Cynny, we aim to revolutionize how people share and organize their digital life through a brand new cloud service, starting from infrastructure to the users’ interface. A revolution that began from inventing and designing our very own infrastructure: we have created the first server network powered solely by ARM CPU. The microservers have “organism-like” features, differentiating them from any of the current technologies. Benefits include low consumption of energy, making Cynny the ecologically friendly alternative for storage as well as cheaper infrastructure, lower running costs, etc.
Next-Gen Cloud. Whatever you call it, there’s a higher calling for cloud computing that requires providers to change their spots and move from a commodity mindset to a premium one. Businesses can no longer maintain the status quo that today’s service providers offer. Yes, the continuity, speed, mobility, data access and connectivity are staples of the cloud and always will be. But cloud providers that plan to not only exist tomorrow – but to lead – know that security must be the top priority for the cloud and are delivering it now. In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, Kurt Hagerman, Chief Information Security Officer at FireHost, will detail why and how you can have both infrastructure performance and enterprise-grade security – and what tomorrow's cloud provider will look like.
Web conferencing in a public cloud has the same risks as any other cloud service. If you have ever had concerns over the types of data being shared in your employees’ web conferences, such as IP, financials or customer data, then it’s time to look at web conferencing in a private cloud. In her session at 14th Cloud Expo, Courtney Behrens, Senior Marketing Manager at Brother International, will discuss how issues that had previously been out of your control, like performance, advanced administration and compliance, can now be put back behind your firewall.
More and more enterprises today are doing business by opening up their data and applications through APIs. Though forward-thinking and strategic, exposing APIs also increases the surface area for potential attack by hackers. To benefit from APIs while staying secure, enterprises and security architects need to continue to develop a deep understanding about API security and how it differs from traditional web application security or mobile application security. In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, Sachin Agarwal, VP of Product Marketing and Strategy at SOA Software, will walk you through the various aspects of how an API could be potentially exploited. He will discuss the necessary best practices to secure your data and enterprise applications while continue continuing to support your business’s digital initiatives.
The revolution that happened in the server universe over the past 15 years has resulted in an eco-system that is more open, more democratically innovative and produced better results in technically challenging dimensions like scale. The underpinnings of the revolution were common hardware, standards based APIs (ex. POSIX) and a strict adherence to layering and isolation between applications, daemons and kernel drivers/modules which allowed multiple types of development happen in parallel without hindering others. Put simply, today's server model is built on a consistent x86 platform with few surprises in its core components. A kernel abstracts away the platform, so that applications and daemons are decoupled from the hardware. In contrast, networking equipment is still stuck in the mainframe era. Today, networking equipment is a single appliance, including hardware, OS, applications and user interface come as a monolithic entity from a single vendor. Switching between different vendor'...
Cloud backup and recovery services are critical to safeguarding an organization’s data and ensuring business continuity when technical failures and outages occur. With so many choices, how do you find the right provider for your specific needs? In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, Daniel Jacobson, Technology Manager at BUMI, will outline the key factors including backup configurations, proactive monitoring, data restoration, disaster recovery drills, security, compliance and data center resources. Aside from the technical considerations, the secret sauce in identifying the best vendor is the level of focus, expertise and specialization of their engineering team and support group, and how they monitor your day-to-day backups, provide recommendations, and guide you through restores when necessary.
Cloud scalability and performance should be at the heart of every successful Internet venture. The infrastructure needs to be resilient, flexible, and fast – it’s best not to get caught thinking about architecture until the middle of an emergency, when it's too late. In his interactive, no-holds-barred session at 14th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Development Community Advocate for SoftLayer, will dive into how to design and build-out the right cloud infrastructure.
You use an agile process; your goal is to make your organization more agile. What about your data infrastructure? The truth is, today’s databases are anything but agile – they are effectively static repositories that are cumbersome to work with, difficult to change, and cannot keep pace with application demands. Performance suffers as a result, and it takes far longer than it should to deliver on new features and capabilities needed to make your organization competitive. As your application and business needs change, data repositories and structures get outmoded rapidly, resulting in increased work for application developers and slow performance for end users. Further, as data sizes grow into the Big Data realm, this problem is exacerbated and becomes even more difficult to address. A seemingly simple schema change can take hours (or more) to perform, and as requirements evolve the disconnect between existing data structures and actual needs diverge.
SYS-CON Events announced today that SherWeb, a long-time leading provider of cloud services and Microsoft's 2013 World Hosting Partner of the Year, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 14th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 10–12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. A worldwide hosted services leader ranking in the prestigious North American Deloitte Technology Fast 500TM, and Microsoft's 2013 World Hosting Partner of the Year, SherWeb provides competitive cloud solutions to businesses and partners around the world. Founded in 1998, SherWeb is a privately owned company headquartered in Quebec, Canada. Its service portfolio includes Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, Dynamics CRM and more.
The world of cloud and application development is not just for the hardened developer these days. In their session at 14th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Development Community Advocate for SoftLayer, and Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, will pull back the curtain of the architecture of a fun demo application purpose-built for the cloud. They will focus on demonstrating how they leveraged compute, storage, messaging, and other cloud elements hosted at SoftLayer to lower the effort and difficulty of putting together a useful application. This will be an active demonstration and review of simple command-line tools and resources, so don’t be afraid if you are not a seasoned developer.